The building was originally intended as the first of many that would constitute a new community in Desert Hot Springs -- the brainchild of film director Lucien Hubbard -- but the plan was abandoned and the motel became a destination for stars looking for a quick flutter away from the City of Angels, less than two hours west.
The site soon went into disrepair, then endured a few lives of its own before an interior designer and furniture designer purchased, revitalized and renamed the motel.
Now Hotel Lautner is an ode to its namesake. Every inch keeps in tune with the architect's philosophy, yet each room feels as fresh as if Lautner gave the final OK just a few months ago.
Hotel Lautner, 67710 San Antonio St., Desert Hot Springs, Calif.; +1 760 832 5288; closed July and August; rooms from $225
Dunton Hot Springs (Dolores, Colo.)
If you're hankering for a trip back in time, maybe the 1880s Wild West suits your boots.
About 30 miles southwest of Telluride sits Dunton Hot Springs, a former gold and silver mining village that's been transformed into a rustic paradise with 12 cabins, a dance hall and an open-air chapel.
The "town" draws guests who want to leave cellphone service behind and relax in the natural hot springs.
Though visitors are surrounded by nothing but nature, they're far from roughing it -- each cabin has been restored with elegance and comfort that couldn't have been imagined by early settlers, even if they'd struck it rich.
Dunton Hot Springs, 52068 Road 38, Dolores, Colo.; +1 970 882 4800; from $600
Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island, Mich.)
To get back to an age when carriages shared the roads with pedestrians and bicycles, you need to visit Mackinac Island, where you can stay at the aptly named Grand Hotel.
Opened in 1887, the massive Queen Anne-style hotel has remained largely unchanged since the early years when Edison Phonograph agents held demonstrations and Mark Twain lectured in the casino.
Cars were allowed for about three decades, but the citywide ban on them began in 1930.
Perhaps the hotel's grandest distinction is its porch: At 660 feet it's said to be the longest in the world.
Guests can walk the entire length or sit in one of dozens of white rocking chairs and look out over Lake Huron.
Grand Hotel, 286 Grand Ave., Mackinac Island, Mich.; +1 800 334 7263; rooms from $139
Plaza Hotel (New York)
You can almost feel the jazz radiating from the walls of this historic F. Scott Fitzgerald haunt.
The Lost Generation's most famous partier loved the Plaza so much, he made it a setting in his greatest work, "The Great Gatsby."
The hotel hasn't shied away from the honor. They've even gone so far as to create a Fitzgerald Suite.
If you prefer a room unburdened by photos of Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, there are other vintage options available.
Whether you're staying at the hotel or not, a night in any of the hotel's dining and drinking venues might make you feel like you could run into Jay Gatsby at any moment.
Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Ave., New York; +1 212 759 3000; rooms from $533
Old Faithful Inn (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming)